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definition of the word the

by the Wiktionnary

Rank of this word in the English language, from analyzing texts from Project Gutenberg.
- - - #1: the of and to

From Old English demonstrative pronoun þe, a late variant of se, originally masculine nominative, but in Middle English superceding all previous Old English forms (se, sēo, þæt).


  1. Definite grammatical article that implies necessarily that the entity it articulates is presupposed; something already mentioned, or completely specified later in the same sentence, or assumed already completely specified. Compare I’m reading a book with I’m reading the book.
    The street in front of your house. (But compare a street in Paris)
    The men and women watched the man give the birdseed to the bird.
  2. When stressed, indicates that the object in question is considered to be best or exclusively worthy of attention.
    That is the hospital to go to for heart surgery.
  3. Indicates all persons to whom an adjectival noun applies.
    Feed the hungry, clothe the naked, comfort the afflicted, and afflict the comfortable.
  4. With a superlative, indicates the person or thing to which the superlative applies.
    That apple pie was the best.
  5. Used as an alternative to a possessive pronoun before body parts.
    A stone hit him on the head. ( = “A stone hit him on his head.”)
  6. Used with the name of a member of a class to refer to all things in that class.
    The cat is a solitary creature. ( = “All cats are solitary creatures.”)

Definition from Wiktionary
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